Staying on Track: Instant Gratification vs.Long-Term Goals

By , SparkPeople Blogger

This blog is dedicated to my team, The ~Indygirl Challenge, who told me they wanted to know how to get past the desire to satisfy that instant desire versus stay track for a long-term goal.  I’m not going to fib: This is a tough one!

I used to think I wanted to reach my goals more than I wanted anything, but obviously not.  I wanted to cope more, as an emotional eater.  The world is very full of emotion-causing events--some good, some bad. I needed to learn other ways to cope with my emotions.  (I blogged about Dealing with Emotional Eating last week.)

I also had to want to reach my goals more than I wanted to feel the food in my mouth, taste its deliciousness and feel overly full.  That last part is VERY important.  I’ve discovered I can have the food and all the wonderful sensations it brings, but with portion control and rules.  For me, certain foods can only be eaten when I'm away from home, such as candy bars, fast food, donuts, and anything else that would hinder my efforts and trigger a binge.  Then I allow myself ONE small or standard-sized item, and leave it at that.  Once I track it, it is added to my SparkPeople Food Tracker for the day and I move on.
Most of all, I had to want something worse than I wanted the food.  In my case it was freedom from my room/house.  I had been stuck in it for a few years and really wanted out and back to a life of going to movies with my husband, shopping with my girlfriends, and working again.  I was very lonely.  Sitting at home alone in pain is one of the biggest triggers for me to overeat.  I desperately wanted out of the situation.
As my journey started, I gained friends on SparkPeople.  They cheered me on as I wrote blogs and expressed exactly what I was going through.  I now NEED SparkPeople more than I NEED excess food.  The people on the site help me with my emotional eating by always being there and taking time to stop by my page, even when I don’t always have the time to reply back.  When I’m coping with heavy emotions, someone cares.  That makes a difference.
To fight my particular food issues, I found that I wanted to get out of my house and inspire others in my situation to do the same.  THIS need to inspire brought me around.  When I first heard that I motivated somebody or made them feel like they could do something better for themselves, I was hooked.  No longer was it just about me and my freedom to get out of my house, but it was about showing others that they could do the same thing.
Now when I want to feast on treats, I actually have something I really do want more.  Maybe all of the other horrible things about my 460-pound disabled body wouldn’t reach me and sustain my resolve, but SparkPeople- you reading this right now- reach me.
Here are 7 of my tips for instant gratification--within reason:

  1. Have a small portion.  One slice of pizza always has fewer calories than two.

  2. Have none at all if it is going to trigger a binge.  Run for the hills and get out of the danger zone where the temptation exists.

  3. Stay full on mini meals every 3-4 hours so you are not tempted.

  4. Drink water- a lot!

  5. Bulk up on fiber and protein to stay full.

  6. ALWAYS order small.

  7. Use small plates.

    I hope this helps you understand that you can have a treat.  It just needs to be counted into your Food Tracker and should not take the place of more nutritious foods.  Use caution not to eat things that will cause a binge cycle to start and avoid even being around them.  Find that “something” that you want more than food.  Dig deep.  That is what will sustain you through your journey.
    What do you do when you are faced with temptation?

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Thanks a bunch for this post! I really needed to hear that, since I'm really struggling.. So inspirational! Report
Your blogs are always so fantastic. This really hit home for me. And isn't it ironic that, without the struggles you had (with your weight, being stuck at home, whatever) you might never have discovered the joy of inspiring others? I think that's the point of it all. Thanks again for giving me inspiration today! Report
I read the label and make a decision whether I want to write it and look at it AND exercise more to counteract eating it. If I still want it then I will had just a small bit and dispose of the remainder. I write it and forget about it. The healthy lifestyle is not about deprivation. I can stick with having things I like in moderation.

Thank you for another wonderful blog. Report
Thanks for reminding me that we can have our treats and still accomplish our goals. Report
Great! Report
Very timely for me to read. Today I really wanted to go to coldstone and have ice cream, but there are three issues with going....
1) I think milk products give me stomach issues...
2) I haven't eaten out in over a month and I don't want to break that cycle for something that may not agree with me...
3) I had alreadybfigured my daily calories/menu in my spark app and there was no room for ice cream...
Yep. I think I am changing my life one decision at a time. :) Report
Totally helps...when I am needing instant gratification, I go to a bakery and buy one of something small. (Brownie, cup cake, whatever.) Then when I get home I share it, usually snuggled up with my sweety. If someone puts a big bag of sweets in my office/near my desk...I relocate them ASAP to the lunch room. I don't "own" them. I pretend that they belong to someone and that person is someone I don't like (cooties candy) Makes it easy to avoid the sweets.

I order appetizers and side salads in restaurants, no left overs. Everyone of these tips I agree with! Thanks for it. Report
Nice post. I have a big sweet tooth so I work in something small and sweet every now and then. Today it was a flour tortilla with some chocolate chips and made a quesadilla. I met my calorie and nutritional goals.

Also having to enter my food in the calorie counter. When I have to look at those numbers and see that I have eaten a lot of extra calories, its a punch in the gut. Report
wow!! great post!!! I love it!!! thanks for the info! I am starting out and hope to have the same great outlook that you are expressing!!! Report
I know that having Insulin Resistance/Metabolic Syndrome/SyndromeX (High Blood Pressure, High Triglycerdies, etc.) that my night cravings will not be helped by eating more sugar/starches. So, I have found protein to be helpful & drinking green tea. Report
Great blog! And, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom from your own personal lessons learned. I need to keep your points in mind - I mostly try not even to have stuff in the house that I know I cannot resist (i.e. potato chips). You are inspiring, indeed. Report
Good tips, all of them. I just found & joined the Indygirl team & look forward to getting to know folks there! Report
Leaving the temptation outside the door is much smarter than inviting it in to do battle.
I always say "work smarter, not harder."

Thanks for sharing your struggle and inspiring all of us. Report
Great points and insight. Thanks! Report
I've definitely found that it helps to leave the room where the temptation is, or put it away where I can't see it.

If I'm still craving it, I drink water. Still craving? Try a small snack with protein.

Usually, once I've done that I don't want the temptation any more. But if I still do, I'll have a small piece, and record it on my tracker.

Thank you for continuing to inspire us! Report
Great ideas! I tend to give in to temptation when I'm alone watching television. But not if I'm full from more frequesnt smaller meals. I also remind myself to chew everything thoroughly...very very thoroughly. :) Report
Great blog, very informative and inspiring. Report
Beth, I can think of NOTHING better than honest, no-holds-barred advice like yours. No (pardon me) sugar-coating, no 'make-nice' shilly-shallying around. Your blogs are so much better than infomercial hype, than biggest-loser fantasies--because you tell the truth (wish I could put stars around that). thank you so much. Report

I have a rule, after one nibble if it isn't a 10/10, I don't eat anymore. If it is a 10 I can have a small piece and be satisfied. This works about 85% of the time. Sometimes that voice saying "Don't waste food, eat what you have taken" goes into overdrive and wins. That means I eat something that is less than delicious.
Amazing! Thank you so much! I needed to hear this today! I have been struggling with things alot lately and I know its time to get fired back up! I appreciate your blog! Report
Thanks for the inspiring words. Recently, I have started wearing some clothes that used to be really tight and now they fit well. When I am faced with temptation, I think about how much better I look and feel and it gets easier to take a pass on the empty calories. That makes me feel powerful! When I indulge, I try to make it something special. Report
Great Blog!! Report
Thank you much that is so inspirational, I too have learned I need encouragement. Thank you Report
Love this article. This article is just what I needed to read today. I am struggling all the sudden. After 6 weeks of being so motivated nothing could tempt me, I'm all the sudden thinking about food way too much. Thanks for giving the 7 tips. And for giving me something else to think about when I am feeling the urge to binge. Report
This is my major issue! And I had not thought about it but you are on point-I can have a small serving of a treat when I am out but when I'm home, it turns into a binge. Lack of access is so key. Thanks for bringing this to the forefront for me! You DO inspire! Report
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